Counting Waves

Scripture Focus: Psalm 3.5
5 I lie down and sleep;
     I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

Psalm 4.8
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
     for you alone, Lord,
     make me dwell in safety.

From John: I’m pleased to tell you that for the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing twice a week from Erin while I’m working on another project. I look forward to hearing her voice more often during this time.

Reflection: Counting Waves
By Erin Newton

As a child prone to nightmares, I learned that a sleepful night was a dreamless night. As an adult, those sleepful nights were interrupted by crying babies or nagging thoughts about the day.

Restful sleep is a luxury. In our fast-paced world, our tragedy-filled world, our stress-inducing world—sleep is often minimal, fitful, or both. When was the last time I laid down in peace and slept?

Psalm 3 is a call for deliverance. Pleading for God to arise and deliver, the psalmist recounts the number of enemies and their mocking voices. Psalm 4 asks God for deliverance from distress. Calling for relief and mercy, the psalmist seeks the ear and attention of God. The world around them is not at peace.

I lie down and sleep.

In peace, I will lie down and sleep.

It is not the circumstances of life that lead the psalmist to close his eyes without fear or anxiety. God is a shield for his people. God is an open receiver for his people. God is the sustainer of his people. These two psalms can boast of a good night’s rest because God stands ready amidst their turbulent lives.

Turbulence usually keeps us awake. We toss and turn, thinking about how we will pay our next mortgage, how we will tell our kids about cancer, how lonely we are, how much we have messed up—and more. We fret well; we don’t sleep well.

One day, many centuries ago, Jesus got in a boat with his friends. The group set sail upon the winds of the Galilean Sea. The journey was underway, the day had been long, and Jesus laid down in peace to sleep. Suddenly, the winds shifted, and the waves tossed. A storm came over the sea; the boat was swamped with waves. But Jesus remained asleep within the boat.

The disciples urged Jesus to awake, their voices strained with fear. “Teacher, do you not care if we drown?” Their world was not at peace. Their hearts were not at peace.

But Jesus did care. He stood ready amidst the turbulent waves. And the waves were still. Jesus knew that God protects, God hears, and God sustains.

As we lay down, may our minds drift to thoughts of our Lord speaking over the waves—speaking over the lie that he doesn’t care if we drown: Hush, hush, be still.  

He cares.  

Divine Hours Prayer: Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Protect my life and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I have trusted in you.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for my hope has been in you. — Psalm 25.19-20

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Samuel 16 (Listen 4:03)
Psalms 1-2 (Listen 1:56)

Read more about State of Our Souls
Reflecting on the work of Christ in our lives is something we must repeat…an anchor in these storm-tossed waves of life.

Read more about Bearing Cursing
Rather than lashing out, may we seek consolation in God and humbly endure insults in the name of Jesus.

The Commission of Truth

Leviticus 5.1
If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

Matthew 25.45
Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

Reflection: The Commission of Truth
By John Tillman

The first verse in Leviticus chapter five, identifies a unique kind of sin—the sin of not testifying to the truth when it is called for.

The implication in the text is a legal one. When authorities were investigating an event, they would call for those who had knowledge of the event to come forward with information. Those who neglect this duty are partly responsible for the crime because they are not standing up for the truth.

We are called to be a testifying people, testifying not only to the truth of the gospel, but to the truth about our workplaces, our houses of worship, our houses of government, and our schools.

When leaders or organizations are under investigation, or are being accused of wrongdoing, it is common for other similar stories to come to light.

But the tendency in our culture is to only support truth-tellers when they are telling a truth that is comfortable for us to hear. We defend quickly those who accuse our political enemies of wrongdoing, but are suspicious of those accusing people or institutions we support.

What if instead of considering those voices as opportunistic attention seekers, we saw them as people answering the biblical call of Leviticus 5.1 to testify?

In response to investigations of political and religious wrongdoing, Ed Stetzer has often spoken to the Christian community reminding us that, “Facts are our friends.” He is correct, but facts are more than our friends—they are our responsibility. And not only are facts our responsibility, truth is our identity.

As children of God, and followers of Jesus who called himself, “the Truth,” we are acting according to our nature and our calling when we help facts come to light and when we stand up for truth and for truth-tellers.

Whenever the call for truth goes out, may we join Jesus in answering it.
Whenever the light of truth shines, may we never join in trying to cover up or deny what is revealed.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12.2-3

*Tomorrow we will look at how this command relates to scripture’s realistic expectation of false accusations.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living. — Psalm 116.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 5 (Listen – 3:35) 
Psalm 3-4 (Listen – 1:56)

Thank You!
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Read more about The Worst Churches in the Bible
There are many strange and unfamiliar images in Revelation that we have no context for and do not easily understand. But one that has a very familiar ring is the description of scandal-filled churches.

Read more about Degrading Each Other
“You have done it unto me.” As the #MeToo movement sweeps around the world, Jesus stands with the victims, claiming their pain as his own, identifying with their feelings of powerlessness, of isolation, and of being silenced for so long.